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Home via Seville
10/05/2010, Serville

We are home now collecting the car so we can take some gear out to the boat. Steve booked flights from Seville to Stansted as even with the bus fare to Seville and a night in a hotel it was cheaper then flying from Gib because flights from there would take us into Luton or Gatwick and it's awkward getting home from those terminals for us.

Seville was fantastic, a beautiful city and I would have liked more than a day there. The bus journey was 4 hours with a long stop halfway, unfortunately the air conditioning was broken and every time the driver turned it on the noise drowned the radio so he didn't bother much - we all melted!

We arrived at midday and went straight to the hostel, the owners were very helpful and the room was clean and basic - hence the cheap price. The hostel was perfectly positioned for visiting the city centre which was not too crowded, it not being the high season. We found a small café and had tapas for lunch and then I visited the Flamenco museum which was very modern and full of interactive displays. Steve gave it a miss, not a surprise but he has been known to watch "Strictly Come Dancing".

After that we wandered into the city to find the cathedral square, we passed many beautiful small churches on the way, there seemed to be one on every street. We stopped at a café overlooking the Giralda and I had an ice-cream sundae. Sadly all the tours round the cathedral were full and in the "off" season the Alcazar palace and gardens were closed - another time.

In the evening we went to an Argentinean restaurant recommended by the hotelier, the food was wonderful.

Gibraltar airport
09/29/2010, La Linea

To get to Gib you must walk or drive across the runway for the airport which is very weird! The access road closes to enable planes to land and if several want to land or take off around the same time then the delay can be an hour or more and motorists get very heated! Blaring horns and shaking fists. The radio station gives out waiting times in the traffic queues for getting on or off the rock! The road loops round by the marina entrance to give space for the queues and I have seen the queue stretch a mile or more back into La Linea when the airport is busy. Lottery ticket sellers, beggars and street performers ply their trade along the queue but I have never seen any of them strike lucky yet.

The marina
09/26/2010, La Linea

We are here in the new marina now which looks very good in the brochures and on the little model in the marina office but it is not finished and only about a quarter full. Not a surprise as it only opened mid July and it takes time for word to get about. Only alternate pontoons have power and water so far and there is only one shower block with one washing machine and dryer. All the planned shops and bars are absent so far and the hard standing and lift are not started yet. The staff are very friendly and we are berthed alongside an American called Spenser and his Colombian wife. They have been living aboard for about 17 years and have been all over so he is a mine of information. Just up the pontoon are a couple bringing up their family aboard, I admire them, I can not imagine caring for a toddler and 9 month baby in a boat the size of ours!

We discovered why we could not get through to Marina Bay on the phone. They have introduced a prefix to all Gibraltar numbers and this was not mentioned in our Pilot Book which is a couple of years old.

Bay of Gibraltar

Another fast ferry from Morocco whizzes past.

Bay of Gibraltar

Here we are passing Passing Europa point the most southerly point of Europe.

Hurrah - Gibraltar at last!

We have finally arrived having had to motor here on the 23rd when there was no wind at all. The passage was uneventful but we don't mind easy though sailing would be better. To starboard we could see a lot of traffic in the separation zones and hear ships checking in with Europa Point for clearance etc. It was busy around Tarifa as we arrived about the time the entire fishing fleet decided to come in along with a fast ferry from Tangier. Along the coast there are regularly placed watch towers built hundreds of years ago. As we neared the bay of Gibraltar it became foggy and the shore disappeared from view until we entered the bay.

The bay was busy with many tankers moored waiting to go to the refinery at San Roque and several fast ferries zoomed in from Africa. We tried to phone Marina bay in Gib but could not get through for some reason so headed on to the newly opened marina in La Linea Spain.

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